Sunday, December 29, 2013

So I kinda met a celebrity! (Dec 9)

Well Christmas lights are in full bloom!! The wonderful season of celebrating Christ's birth has arrived!! It really is funny that we officially celebrate it only once a year, but of course we can celebrate it all day every day in our hearts and show our appreciation for His life in the way that we live our own lives :) I was listening to a conference talk earlier this week while I was getting ready- You all should do that!- I can't remember what the talk was called... Maybe it was "Of regrets and resolutions" or it might have been one from this last conference... but anyways there was a line in it that really stuck out to me, and I have been trying to apply it to my life since. The speaker said to -
"earnestly search our souls and ask ourselves if what we are doing is pleasing to the Lord."
Simple enough, but it really makes you stop and think. Just before you lose your temper and are about to lash out ask yourself, "would it be pleasing to the Lord for me to say something unkind to one of His precious children?". Would it be pleasing to the Lord if I went to that service activity or if I reached out to my neighbor? I love it because it really helps you rate where you are at personally in your commitment to do the will of the Lord. As I have applied this I have found myself being better able to handle conflicts and also to have greater confidence in following the promptings of the spirit. I want to challenge all of you to do it!!
Family. Christmas lights means MIRACLES. I can't even tell you how blessed I feel to have been called to serve here at THIS Visitors Center at this particular time. Man Time. I am not a fan of it haha! But at the same time I am grateful for it and that it motivates me to just keep giving my all. So you want to know some figures from the lights? In the past 9 days of Christmas lights we have received over 500 referrals. FIVE HUNDRED!!!!! We Still have 3 weeks left!! About half of those are individuals and families that came into the center, felt the spirit, and now want to be taught by missionaries. The rest are referrals given by members for the people that they love and care about and want to share the gospel with. This is truly the Lord's work!! We have thousands of people coming in the doors every single night. This is what makes my Christmas. I love that you all are having a simple Christmas this year. Sometimes I think- I know people get caught up in the commercial aspect of Christmas. Let's all remember the true reason for the season :) Do something good and reach out to others! Give the greatest gift that you can give to the Savior by sharing His gospel. 

So yes I am LOVING christmas lights. The only hard thing is once again time. Our poor area... But we know we will continue to see miracles as we work hard! The Lord knows our schedule and our limitations! We are doing our very best to facilitate miracles daily. So update with Tanya. Yeah soo sorry I didn't finish that story! Haha I didn't even realize that I hadn't finished typing it! Just come up with a clever closing sentence and we will call it good :) BUT oh my gosh drama. I can't go into details but she just has a lot of hard things going on in her life and she is going to have a lot of different things to overcome. We tried setting multiple appointments with her this last week, but she would always cancel! Oh my gosh my heart was broken! I felt like somebody had given me a 100 dollar bill and then snatched it back. WWHHYYY. Sometimes we don't know why things happen, but we just need to trust that Heavenly Father is in control and everything will work out according to His plan and according to His timing. We told Tanya to call us when she was ready for us to come and meet with her again. The next day she called us!! We missed it because we were at the Visitors Center, but the next day was Sunday so we called her in the morning (we don't get out of the vc until about 10:30pm) and no answer. During sunday school in our first ward I felt strongly that we should go by Tanya and invite her to church. We drove over there, rang the door bell, and Tanya answered the door in a dress and ready to go! She said oh are you picking me up for church? Just then one of our awesome members pulled in the drive way and we got them in the car and on their way to the church. I felt like my jaw just dropped and I knew that Heavenly Father was totally aware of us and our restrictions so He took care of Tanya. So yeah, Tanya came to church!!!!!!! :D It was soo amazing!! She brought her 2 little baby boys too and they were so good! It really was a miracle and it was humbling to remember that Heavenly Father does not send us out here on our own. This is His work and He is in control. Miracle!

Ok so you want to hear some cool stories from Christmas lights?? I know you do! They are the best!! Ok I will just tell you 2 or 3.

#1. So I kinda met a celebrity!!!! I was on post at God's Plan when I was this girl who was clearly a member and she was was showing her friends around who were nonmembers- or so I assumed. BTW never do that! haha But this time I was right! So I made my way through the sea of people and went and greeted them over by the Book of Mormon table. My memory is starting to get a little foggy, let's be honest I've always had a bad memory! haha but let me try to think what happened... we were talking and I found out one of them was from California, the other was from North Carolina, and then the member was from here. I was super confused as to how they all knew each other especially since they were a variety of ages... But I focused in on my purpose and invited the one guy to learn more. He said why not and filled out the guest card (you just NEVER know when somebody is going to say yes! It is always worth it just to extend an invitation). While he was doing that I asked them how they all met up here in Mesa. They all kinda looked at each other and asked if it was ok for them to tell me. What the... I was starting to regret asking when the member turned to me and asked "Have you ever seen the show extreme weight loss on abc?" I said no, but then from the deep deep files of my memory I remembered watching that show back at Grandma and Grandpa's house forever ago! Remember the show where they follow the one person for 6 months and try to help them lose weight?? Well she then told me that she is one of the trainers on the show and the guy who filled out the card is one of the contestants!! Of course the first question out of my mouth then was "How much wight have you lost?!?!" haha I'm sure he gets that a lot! He told me he has lost about 150 pounds!! He then showed me a picture of himself before and I was SHOCKED!!! Soo amazing! So after that little side convo I brought it back to the gospel and gave him a Book of Mormon to take home and read. I promised him that anyone who reads this book can receive a witness from the Holy Ghost that it is true. Amazing!! He still has another month left on the show so I am going to be teaching him online until then. His showing will appear on abc this upcoming summer. So cool!! Talk to everyone :D

#2. So there are these things called snow birds. They have a reputation of being grumpy older people from very cold places such as Canada, Minnesota, etc and they come down to Mesa just for the winter months. All the sisters know about them and that they are SUPER hard to get to open up and they hardly ever accept the invitation to learn more- or even to talk to you sometimes! Sister Schwartz was a legend because of her ability to talk with snow birds. haha so a few days ago I was on post in the nativities and a group of snow birds came in. I got up my courage and went over to go talk to them. I was super happy when they didn't shew me away and actually talked to me! I started praying to know what to say and I asked them if they were members of the church. They told me no but that they knew some members that were just the kindest people they had met! One woman than told me a story about how a member of the church had written her a super sweet letter when her son had died many years ago. She told me she still had that letter to this day! I asked her about her son and she told me the sad story of his tragic death. I could tell that even though it had been many years she was still grieving for the life of her precious son. Then before I could even think about it I opened my mouth and told her that in this church we believe that God has provided a way for our families to be sealed together for eternity because of promises we make in the temple. I told her that even if a family member dies we can have that peace and reassurance that we will be with them again. She told me she believes that and I then invited her to allow the missionaries to come into her home and teach her more. She said she would like that. M.I.R.A.C.L.E. What a special miracle.

Well I am out of time. I hope that these stories that I share with you all uplift and inspire you. There are soooo many more stories to tell, but I guess they will just have to wait for another day and time. 

I love you all sooo much!! 

Sister Hamstead

Mama Anderson came back to visit!

ps- I am FREEZING here and it's in the 50's. That is sad haha
pps- thank you sooo much for sending me that coat mommy!! Came at the perfect time :D
ppps- I love you all sooo much! Remember the true reason for the season and help others feel the love of the Savior Jesus Christ